Oct 11, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; A general view of O.co Stadium before game five of the 2012 ALDS between the Oakland Athletics Detroit Tigers at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics announced the tarps covering seats will be removed for extra seating if the team advances to the American League championship series. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose's Antitrust Claim Against MLB Dismissed, But Part of Lawsuit Upheld

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In an effort to spur the potential relocation of the Oakland Athletics to San Jose, the city of San Jose filed an antitrust lawsuit against MLB. On Friday, most of the claims were dismissed by a federal judge, referring to the MLB’s antitrust exemption that dates back to 1912.

However, the judge did uphold San Jose’s right to sue MLB for allegedly interfering with an agreement between the city and the A’s to build a new ballpark in San Jose.

Phillip Gregory, a lawyer for San Jose, saw this as a positive.

“The judge has upheld our tort claims against Major League Baseball,” he told the San Jose Mercury News. “Clearly, he wants the case to go forward. The A’s may have lost last night, but the A’s and the city of San Jose won today.”

Meanwhile, an MLB lawyer begged to differ.

“Ninety-nine percent of this case is gone,” MLB lawyer John Keker told the Merc. “And we’re confident that once the rest of the case is developed, the rest of the case will be gone.”

Andy Dolich, a marketing executive with the A’s back in the 1980s and 90s, spoke to GoldenGateSports.com in June and called San Jose’s lawsuit a “brushback pitch.”

“Trying to sue MLB to overturn the antitrust exemption is a herculean task — very, very difficult,” he said. “Nobody’s been able to do it in 91 years. To me, I look at it as a brushback pitch thrown by the city of the San Jose to the commissioner and baseball in general.

“What happens in a brushback pitch is you’re either warned, thrown out of the game, or there’s some kind of bench-clearing altercation. And in any of those circumstances, that complicates the game.”

 

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